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Cold night, hot drinks for two at Proof

Friday, February 4, 2011; 1:56 AM

Proof has a lot going for it as a date spot: good food, a handsome interior, comfortable booths, soft lighting and a volume level that won't leave you shouting sweet nothings across the bar.

Never one to leave good enough alone, Proof bar manager Adam Bernbach is raising the stakes with a program of hot drinks for two. Presented in a silver thermos alongside a pair of ceramic mugs, the shared beverage is a perfect way to escape the winter weather with your date.

The hot drinks are rotated each month. One featured now is the Eyebright Bugler. Named after a song by the San Francisco art-punk band Deerhoof, the Bugler is Bernbach's take on hot buttered rum. The base is 10 Cane Trinidadian rum, which is lightly washed with butter and enhanced with cranberry syrup, Campari, Peychaud bitters and filled out with hot water. A garnish of mint is provided on the side, to be added "pho style." My wife and I found that a light hand was definitely the way to go when adding garnishes. The hot water got a lot of flavor out of the mint, and the drink was complex and delicate enough that it didn't need much. Just like the perfect date.

- Justin Rude

Proof, 775 G St. NW. 202-737-7663. www.proofdc.com. $19.

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